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Travails of a Non-Swimmer

Don’t Run Next To Me!


Had a good time at the gym tonight, one of the reasons being that there were very few people. 🙂 It’s a three-day weekend here in Japan so I guess many went on mini-vacations.

There was zero waiting time for any of the machines. Even the running machines—which are usually filled on weekday nights—were pretty much empty. There was an entire empty row so I decided to run in the middle.

I actually don’t like running next to strangers.

I try not to look at the next runner but since the screens are so large…I am rather uneasy when I can clearly see that everyone else is running faster than I am. When it’s a college-age girl going 10km/h I’m a little bit annoyed but don’t really mind; I mean, I would have run like that at her age! But when it’s some fat, middle-aged woman (like me) doing the 10km/h thingy, I’m like, “Oh no, I’m being left behind!” kind of desperate.

However, all the years, decades really, of not exercising has taken a toll on my body. I know I shouldn’t push the speed thing too hard otherwise I’ll slip or trip or do some other stupid thing. I think the important thing now is not so much to run fast but to keep up a constant speed (in my case, 6-7km/h) for all of the allotted 30min. Right now I take a few minutes break in between (5.5km/h) to rest, drink water and wipe off sweat. Next month I hope the need to do this becomes less frequent. As for doing a 10km/h, maybe in a few years!

Now regarding the title of this post. I was doing my running thing when then this young man started to run right next to me. Hey, there’s a whole row of empty machines. Why do you have to pick the machine next to mine? Ugh!

Anyway, I said to myself “Don’t. Look. At. His. Screen.”

And I didn’t. Not once. Yey! +1 my willpower 🙂

Time with the Machines and Pool

  • Chest Press 4.5kg, 20x
  • Sit-up 20x
  • Leg Press 22.5, 20x
  • Torso Rotation 14kg, 40x
  • Lat Pulldown 11.5kg, 10x
  • Hip Flexer 2x
  • Running 30min = 3km at 5-7km/h, slope 2.0%
  • Diet Trainer 5min @ 25
  • Pool – 60min of breathing drills (see below)

Pool exercise was mostly the same as yesterday: breathing drills in Lesson 3 of the Total Immersion Swimming: Perpetual Motion Freestyle in Ten Lessons DVD.

But it was nice throughout as I had the lane mostly to myself. A rare and happy occasion! 🙂

I’m able to rotate to breathe on my back (flat or at the Skate angle) a little bit more easily now so I also concentrated on stroking and rolling to breathe in between.

One thing I really need to keep in mind is to maintain my head-spine alignment at all times. I often forget to keep my back straight and work my ab muscles (what little muscle there is) and clench my glutes. Doing these have got to become a habit otherwise I’ll never be able to solve the “always deep in the water” issue.

Tomorrow is no-pool/gym day, and Monday is a holiday so again, no-pool/gym. Group swimming class on Tuesday is when I can hit the pool again. Can’t do anything about not having a pool so instead I’ll watch the DVDs again and try do so some land exercises and visualization.

Notes to Self: Do

  • Rotate from the hips. Always the hips and not the shoulders or head!
  • Work your ab muscles. Don’t be bendy/floppy/bow-shaped in the water. The only parts that should be relaxed are your head, shoulders, hands and legs. Work your core!

Notes to Self: Don’t

  • Look at the screens of other people’s running machines. It will just make you feel bad that you’re not running as fast as they are. You are running to become healthier, not to keep up with the Joneses.
  • Use your lower back muscles while on the exercise machines. Concentrate on the muscles (arm, upper back, ab, thigh, etc) that you should be working on.

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